tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC February 25, 2021 3:30pm-4:01pm PST
"world news tonight" is up next. i will he so you back here at 4:00. tonight, the new coronavirus variant spreading here in new york city. also at this hour, the former u.s. gymnastics coach charged, and we just learned tonight he has taken his own life. first the coronavirus. health officials tracking this new strain in new york. what we know so far and pfizer and moderna already working to modify vaccines to target these new variants. and the johnson & johnson one-shot vaccine, will it get emergency authorization tomorrow? and if so, the numbers tonight, how soon will americans be getting it and how many million doses in the coming weeks? a disturbing headline unfolding of former olympics gymnastics coach has died by suicide just hours after being charged with two dozen felonies including sex assault and human
trafficking. te coach with ties to former coach larry nasser. where his body was found. the acting chief of the capitol police warning congress about threats to attack president biden's address to congress, warning that extremists want to blow up the capitol. also the house tonight passing the equality act, the bill to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. rachel scott on the hill with both stories. the biden administration set to declassify a report on the killing of jamal khashoggi, last seen entering saudi arabia's consulate in istanbul in 2018. and president biden has spoke within the saudi king. mary bruise has the repo mary bruce has the reporting. governor andrew cuomo facing backlash from nursing home deaths and sexual harassment allegations from a top aide. former president trump's tax
returns are now in the hands of the manhattan d.a. and tonight surveillance of the shooting, lady gaga's dog walker, two of her stolen and the $500,000 reward. >> from abc news world headquarters in new york, this is "world news tonight" with david muir. good evening. great to have you with us on a thursday night. we'll get to the former gymnastics coach charged with abuse and other crimes. he has died by suicide. but we are going to begin with that new covid variant spreading quickly in new york city. researchers racing to find out whether it is more contagious, deadly, and whether the current vaccines work against it. meantime, president biden marking a key milestone this afternoon, 50 million shots in arms since he took office. that's half his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days. now weeks ahead of schedule. in new york, health officials
say that new variant, there is a mutation also found in the brazil and south africa variants that can weaken the body's immune response. all eyes on johnson & johnson, that fda hearing tomorrow. emergency use authorization could come right after. 3 million to 4 million doses potentially next week, 100 million doses by june. and tonight the numbers, 45 million americans have now received at least one dose, more than 13% of the population. but of course not a moment too soon with concern now over these variants and the new one right here in new york. abc's whit johnson leading us off. >> reporter: tonight researchers are closely tracking a new covid variant, now spreading rapidly through new york city. two new studies finding the variant is unique and shares a concerning mutation with the more contagious brazilian and south african variants, some health experts raising questions about whether its could impact the effectiveness of vaccines or other treatmentses. how worried are you about this new variant in new york city?
>> i'm concerned about this new variant, quite concerned. it's carrying certain very important mutations that would allow it to infect people who already have protection against the previous variant. >> reporter: but researchers stress it's not clear this variant is more contagious or deadly and further study is needed. trying to stay one step ahead, pfizer and moderna are already modifying vaccines to target the south african variant. and both companies are also testing a third booster shot of the original formula to see if they offer more protection. >> when the vaccine becomes available, take it. the waits, the better chance the virus has. >> reporter: it adds to the urgency to speed up vaccinations. here at the javits center they each reached more than 71,000 shots. nationwide, 66 million doses
administered so far, and today president biden marking another milestone, half his goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days. >> 50 million shots in just 37 days since i've become president. that's weeks ahead of schedule even with the setbacks we face during the recent winter storms. >> reporter: across the country, a scramble to get that coveted shot. in massachusetts, 50,000 vaccine appointments snatched up in just 90 minutes. the unlucky ones sent to a digital waiting room. >> i now had 6,800 in the wait line within a period of two minutes. so it's just been an exercise in futility. >> reporter: but more vaccine could soon be on the way. johnson & johnson ready to ship out 3 million to 4 million doses of it one-shot vaccine as soon as the fda grants emergency use authorization, which could come as early as tomorrow night. and another sign of progress -- in new york city today, more than 60,000 middle schoolers
heading back to the classroom. >> today marks an important step towards reclaiming our lives. >> whit johnson in front of the middle school in new york that just reopened, one of the schools that reopened today. back to that johnson & johnson vaccine, of course the one-shot vaccine, we've been reporting on it here. and if they recommend emergency use authorization tomorrow after this key hearing, give us a reality check. how much of the new vaccine could we see and how soon? >> reporter: david, those first vaccines could start shipping out as early as monday. up to 4 million doses in the initial rollout next week, then 20 million by the end of the march and a total of 100 million in doses expected by the end of june. david? >> kwhit johnson leading us off on the coronavirus. now to the former u.s. olympics gymnastics coach charged today with two dozen felonies including sex assault and human trafficking. late today we learned that coach has died by suicide. his body was found in a rest
area. here's our chief national correspondent. >> reporter: he was hit with 24 charges this morning, many for the human trafficking of minors. but rather than face those charges, tonight authorities say the former u.s. olympic gymnastics coach chose to die by suicide. >> these allegations focus around multiple acts of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse perpetrated by the defendant against multiple victims. >> reporter: those victims were girls who had gold medaled as head coach of the 2012 olympic team trained at his gym, and that was where his friend, dr. larry nasser, was convicted for sexually abusing young women and girls. >> i am certain that today's charges will bring a new round of questions for the survivors of larry nasser's terrible crimes. >> reporter: nasser is now in prison. >> you do not deserve to walk outside of a prison ever again.
>> reporter: during his dramatic sentencing, the women who testified against him calling gedard his willing acome lis. >> you deserve to sit behind bars right next to larry. >> the scandal has set off an earthquake in the world of u.s. women's gymnastics, and he denied his victims closure. he was found dead off a rest stop near lansing, michigan. next tonight to the alarming warning on capitol hill today, the acting chief of the capitol police warning congress about threats to attack president biden's upcome eiging address t congress, warning extremists, want to, quote, blow up the capitol. >> the stark new warning saying domestic terrorists who stormed the capitol on january 6th are plotting their next attack, this time targeting president joe biden's upcoming speech to a
joint session of congress. >> the militia groups that were present on january 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the capitol. >> reporter: with miles of fencing already around the complex, insisting security must remain high for now. >> to stop a mob of tens of thousands requires more than a police force. it requires physical infrastructure. >> reporter: that warning about what could come amid continuing questions about what happened on january 6th in the first place. today lawmakers pressing for answers. >> you guys are in charge, though, of security on the house floor, or are you there to make sure we take our coats off on camera? >> reporter: police were outnumbered and overrun, overrun by mobs hunting for lawmakers inside. jaime herrera beutler saying that she saw. >> there was no coordination. >> reporter: tuesday confusion about when the national guard was called in.
>> who did you ask for assistance? >> it was from mr. irving in the company of mr. stenger as well. >> mr. irving, why would you not remember that? >> senator, i have no recollection of a conversation with chief sund at that time. i was on the floor during the electoral college session. >> reporter: today the acting chief showing up with evidence -- the phone logs saying they did call for help. >> on january 6th, chief sund first reached out for national guard support to the house sergeant at arms at 12:58 p.m. >> reporter: tonight we're learning 800 insurrectionists made it inside the capitol that day. other lawmakers insisting police had the intelligence but failed to act. but the acting chief saying today there was no intelligence, indicating an attack of this size and scale. >> we acknowledge that there are a lot of things that should have been done differently. >> let's bring in rachel scott at the capitol tonight. in addition to that sobering warning today, another major
story from the hill. the house has passed the equality act designed to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. what are the chances in the senate? >> reporter: david, this is going to face an uphill challenge in the senate. democrats need at least 10 republicans, only 3 voted to move forward. republicans are concerned about this infrin nling on religiousous liberty. joe biden made it part of his 100-day agenda, but aides saying they may have to push that timetable back. >> thank you. the white house is expected to declassify a report on the brutal killing of u.s.-based journalist jamal khashoggi. of course you'll remember last seen entering saudi arabia's consulate in istanbul in 2018. that report is expected to conclude that saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman, known as mbs, ordered the brutal attack. and news coming in that president biden has spoke within the saudi king. our senior white house correspondent mary bruce.
>> reporter: journalist jamal khashoggi was last seen alive walking into the saudi consulate in istanbul in 2018 before being assassinated by a saudi hit squad. his body dismembered. now tonight, washington is awaiting the release of an intelligence report expected to conclude that the saudi crown prince, mohammed bin salman, approved the brutal execution. the saudi government denies the crown prince was involved. president biden today speaking with his father, the saudi king, but the official white house readout makes no mention of the khashoggi killing being discussed. the question now, will the biden administration hold the saudis accountable as promised. the white house whousz has said biden won't hold back. >> will he be following up this talk with action or sanctions? >> i think there are a range of actions that are on the table. our administration is focused on recalibrating the relationship as we've talked about in here previously. and certainly there are areas where we will express concerns and leave open the option of
accountability. >> reporter: congress demanded the report be released in 2019, but then-president donald trump refused, even bragging to bob woodward about letting the crown prince off the hook. reportedly he said, "i saved his [ bleep ]. i was able to get congress to leave him alone. i was able to get them to stop. before the cameras defending the crown prince too. >> nobody pointed directly a finger at the future oiking of saudi arabia. >> it's customary for the white house to put out readouts of calls the president has with foreign leaders. this readout did not make direct mention of khashoggi. the question, do we know if president biden ever addressed the killing directly with the saudi king? > reporter: i have asked this question exactly, and the white house says only that khashoggi was not mentioned in the official readout, leaving open the possibility that they did talk about this. this administration is now trying to reset the u.s./saudi relationship and it's clear tnight they are being very
careful about how they handle all of this. >> mary bruce, thank you. next to new york governor andrew cuomo facing a growing backlash for his handling of covid-related nurses home deaths. he also faces sexual harassment allegations from a former top aide. >> reporter: tonight new york governor andrew cuomo, once hailed for his leadership at the start of the pandemic, now under fire. today his office defending its decision last spring to return covid patients to nursing homes, which critics claim led to a high number of deaths. cuomo saying he was following federal guidance. >> all the data has shown not just new york but across the country that this is not what brought the infection into the nursing homes. >> reporter: lawmakers now considering stripping cuomo of his covid emergency powers after his aide admitted hiding nursing home deaths for fear it would be politicized by the trump administration. new york's attorney general revealing those deaths were
unde underreported by up to 50%, meaning seniors who died in hospital were counted in hospital tolls, not in nursing homes. >> we should have done a better job of providing as much as information as we could. >> reporter: this among new allegations of sexual harassment by former staffer lindsey boylan, alleging several unsettling episodes including a 2012 flight where the governor joked, let's play strip poker. four staffers on the plane pushed back saying the conversation never happened. the governor's press secretary in a statement saying claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false. and, david, lindsey boylan is now running for office in manhattan. governor cuomo denied her allegations when she first tweeted them back in december. >> thank you. in the meantime, turning to texas where today lawmakers grilled executives about the state's power grid and we learned the entire grid was just
4:37 from a total blackout. marcus moore again from dallas. >> reporter: tonight, texas energy executives in the hot seat as state lawmakers try to figure out who is to blame for last week's catastrophic grid failure. >> where does the buck stop? is it you? >> reporter: governor abbott saying the responsibility lies with ercot who manages 80% of the state's power grid claiming that did not take the storm seriously. >> they downplayed the severity of it at the same time telling me and the public they were fully prepared for it. >> reporter: now we know the state was 4:37 away from a total blackout that could have left texans in the dark for weeks. >> we dame dangerously lo ly cl losing the entire system. >> reporter: the president of ercot saying he would not have done anything differently. >> what you did didn't work. >> it keeped us from going into a blackout we'd still be in today. that's why we did it. >> but the human suffering.
>> no. >> reporter: and it didn't work for texans like tim hammond, whose church flooded after the pipes burst. i hope lessons will be learned from this experience. >> reporter: they're focused on rebuilding. >> the shock is gone and we have to pick up the pieces. we don't have a choice. >> reporter: david, the texas governor also said tonight that the current legislative session will not end until winterization of the power grid is both man dated and fully funded. >> marcus moore, than you. when we come back here, that surveillance tonight, lady gaga's dog walker shot, her dogs stolen. ♪ for every idea out there, that gets the love it should ♪ ♪ there are 5 more that don't succeed ♪ ♪ and so are lost for good ♪ ♪ and some of them are pretty flawed ♪ ♪ and some of them are slightly odd ♪ ♪ but many are small businesses that simply lack the tool ♪ ♪ to find excited people who will stop and say 'that's cool'♪ ♪ and these two, they like this idea ♪ ♪ and those three like that one.♪
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the only fda approved medicine proven to significantly reduce hallucinations and delusions related to parkinson's. don't take nuplazid if you are allergic to its ingredients. nuplazid can increase the risk of death in elderly people with dementia related psychosis. and is not for treating symptoms unrelated to parkinson's disease. nuplazid can cause changes in heart rhythm and should not be taken if you have certain abnormal heart rhythms or take other drugs that are known to cause changes in heart rhythm. tell your doctor about any changes in medicines you're taking. the most common side effects are swelling of the arms and legs and confusion. we spoke up and it made all the difference. ask your healthcare provider about nuplazid. now to that alarming surveillance, lady gaga's dog walker shot and wounded, two dogs stolen. [ screaming ] [ gunshot ] >> tmz obtaining the surveillance. the dog walker ryan fisher survived. lady gaga offering a $500,000
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finally tonight here the volunteers saving the sea turtles. definitely america strong. >> tonight, the remarkable images, saving the sea turtles in texas. they've been at it for days. the sea turtles had been rescued from the brutal cold. they're now being returned to the ocean. scientists tell us the sea turtles that survived recovered after what's called a cold stun to their system. >> they can't move their flippers so they float to the top of the water. even though their instinct tells them to lift their head to breathe, they can't. >> volunteers first saving them from the ocean during the storms, trying to keep them world enough. the group sea turtles, inc., helping. small tubs to keep them warm and now releasing them. the university of texas ma screen science institute too. >> 900 sea turtles that came into the center.
look here, these are stop of the turtles we kept behind so we're able to give them a little more treatment. >> tonight the team releasing 870 turtles and counting. in corpus christi, the texas state aquarium with u-hauls full of rescue turtles, warming them in tanks. >> hi, david. >> jesse gilbert with the aquarium telling us those tur turtles are going home. >> 950 turtles back foo into the sea. >> the sea turtles saved tonight with more headed home. we needed good news. a remarkable effort underway for days. i'm muir moodavid muir.
building a better bay area for a safe and secure future, this is abc7 news. >> kids have hit a wall. >> the numbers we've seen are unprecedented. we've never seen numbers like this. >> the social isolation has a price. >> that social isolation from the coronavirus pandemic has spawned another crisis. a mental health crisis. good afternoon. i'm kristen sze. >> and i'm larry beil. even though we're closing in on a rush to school, the isolation is hitting some kids especially hard. researchers have yet to clearly link reports of recent suicides to the pandemic, but many americans, especially young people are in crisis. we've learned that just in the past two weeks two different middle school students in marin county died by suicide. according to the cdc, mental health related er visits jumped 24% among children age 5 to 11 and 31% among adolescents from mid-march to october compared with the same period in 2019.
abc7 news reporter kris reyes has been talking to mental health experts about the warning signs. and chris, what are some things that parents can do to try to help if they see their kids are struggling? >> hi, larry. we everyone nice with parents and caregivers who may not know where to go if they're dealing with a mental health crisis at home. what signs they need to look for and what resources they need to have on hand right now. here are their best answers. and as an extra resource, we will have the suicide prevention hotline on the screen for the duration of this story. >> so it's really important that we as adult caregivers really remain open and also knowledgeable about resources. because when that door is open and your child is willing to talk, it would be good to be armed with information, right. because the worst thing you can say is oh, i don't -- >> the doctor recommends having resources before you even need